In the field...

In the field...
Our Family awaiting baby #4

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

...More Difficult Decisions

When I got pregnant with Emilia late in 2009, she was going to be our fourth baby in seven years.  While this caused a bit of anxiety at first, we were excited to add another beautiful baby to our young family.  A few stressful events happened around this time though, all of which were constant reminders that God was guiding us and opening up doors for our family when others closed.

We obviously had serious concerns about having another baby.  The biggest one being that I had just graduated from Graduate School at UH and ultimately had to forfeit my student health insurance...which remember, is how we were able to get Billy's birth covered. 

My heart was so heavy. 

I was now officially uninsured and married to a minister with a good salary, but on paper (BEFORE taxes of about 27%....self employment tax...income tax...and both sides of Social Security Tax being our responsibility) made "too much" to get any type of assistance from anyone. 

It seemed like a middle class "catch 22" or something....

Grasping for straws, I did remember that I had limited VA benefits available with my honorable discharge.  So I made a B-line to the VA hospital to get a pregnancy test done.  The blood test was positive - no surprise there. 

NOTE: After four pregnancies in seven years, I can pretty much "know" that I'm pregnant within days of conceiving.  I simply can NOT relate to those "I didn't know I was pregnant" ladies?!  But everyone is different...I know =)

But then I had a rather pleasant surprise.  When the VA worker handed me the paper with the positive blood test result, they also gave me information on how to get an approved OB/GYN contracted through the VA hospital. 

Do what?!

Since when?

I didn't even know this was an option?!  WOW - thank you...God is good!!!

That was a God moment no doubt.  I later found out that the legislature had changed the women's veteran's benefits in 2006...way before Billy was born by the way.  But I didn't even have a clue about it then.  I had inquired with the VA about deliveries and maternity care in 2003 when Hailey was born, and right before my honorable discharge.   I did get a BIG and somewhat sarcastic, "no lady - we don't deliver babies"?!  That was disappointing...but I understood the actual VA hospitals were not equiped.

But THIS new development in our lives though was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.  We were SO relieved!

Within weeks, we were able to find a new midwife who owned her own free-standing birthing center in Pasadena, TX, less than a mile from the Pasadena hospital.  (BTW, Nativiti was not on the VA list, plus it was a bit too far from Liberty...especially with my history of fast, natural labor). 
Again, I LOVED my birth experience in Pasadena with this new midwife and doula and would be honored to blog Emilia's birth story sometime very soon!

Once we added Emilia to the family, things became quite a bit more hectic in the Sanford household.

Also with the new year of 2011 came the "Obamacare" scam, which gave us false hope that he would actually help all of those in this desperate middle class and self-employed position.  All it did was raise our premium for the same fact raising them so HIGH (even WITHOUT ME on the plan) that we had to change from a $5,000 deductible to a $10,000 deductible  - just to pay the SAME monthly premium amount every month.  Yikes...we were very dissapointed Obama...and we felt quite jilted.

So we quit going to the doctor for well check-ups (paying 100% with a "high-deductible" plan was just too expensive for 6 people)...

We ran out of money to get any dental work done, even cleanings were too expensive...and can you imagine the anxiety of having to tell your 5 year old "I"m sorry baby" while she cries from tooth aches?  HEARTBREAKING!!!! Ibuprofen can only go so far...

Jon had NOT had new glasses or contacts or even an eye exam in years...nor had the rest of us...

There was still NO way we could afford the vasectomy for....well know what that's for =)


It seemed hopeless...

As for the family side of things, with four little ones, even getting a babysitter was stressful (just being able to pay a teenager) or having the guts to ask a friend to watch ALL of them so I could "work" and hour here and there...we felt awkward to say the least.  We did have a few angels that would help us out of the goodness of their hearts, but I always felt bad or guilty about that.

We had four beautiful (and well behaved, might I add) kiddos that deserve the best in life...but a mommy and a daddy who were miles and miles from their family and any-time support structure.  Also a Daddy who gave it his all as a full time preacher and teacher, volunteered announcing local sports AND called dirt track racing for a little bit of extra money (during racing season only though).  Plus a  Mommy that wanted desperately to stay home with her amazing kiddos, but NEEDED to contribute something to our income and bills - we're talking simply to meet basic survival necessities!!! 

So at this point, I have a confession to make...I have always had a tendency to over-work myself!

People often say to me "I just don't know how you do it?"

I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise to those of you who know me.  I realize that it's probably quite typical for a lot of young moms too, especially with our economy the way it is.

Sometimes I think I thrive on over-working myself...or maybe it's a multi-tasking addiction...or even the fact that I get bored very easily and can't sit still.  Some say I'm just like my Mom (love you Mom)!  I'm not sure exactly, but even as a college student I had 4 part time jobs - HEB Cashier (for 7 yrs?!), Teaching Assistant for TxSU Music Dept, Army National Guard Bandsmen/AROTC Cadet AND I taught private lessons during the school year.  During my undergrad years, the scholarships ran out quickly. So I was trying to work my way through college for the most least that is how I justified the over-working in my head.

Upon getting married though, I was certainly up for the challenge of being a minister's wife (plus Bible class teacher/Education Dept. planner) and adoring mommy.  But I also wore the hats of teacher, graduate student and BC Home Spa Team leader and trainer....I began to see the over-working college student coming out in me once again.  But I wasn't really sure if that was a good thing...desperately NOT wanting to neglect my husband or kids in anyway. 

I never gave up though, thinking if I slept less and worked harder....

Somehow I could fix this....right?

By this summer, Jon and I were pretty frustrated with our situation and a little scared.  We were behind on needed dental procedures and had stopped buying some needed prescriptions (one was $680 for 10 pills?!)  The thing I discovered though, was that even with my talents and qualifications, no matter what I tried to do part-time (around wife and mommy duties of course), the private music lessons, the home spas, even my amazing part-time college teaching gig as a professor at TxSU in Spring of 2011 (my DREAM job) - NOTHING would qualifiy me for the benefits we so desperately needed...

EXCEPT for teaching with a school FULL-time!   

That was what I HAD to do help my family - I could save the day - SUPER MOM to the rescue!

But remember...this was something Jon and I had mutually agreed that I would NOT aspire to do until ALL of our kiddos were in school.  I felt like a failure not being able to live up to this promise.  What were we going to do now? 

What happened next, really fell in our laps...we got a lead on a local job opening at one of the Liberty schools teaching music - literally across the street from our house!!!  Yay, thank you God for looking out for us...right? With my Masters degree, there is NO way I would not be hired for this position, NO way.  Everyone was so supportive and Jon and I were almost giggling with the excitement of what what we could do with group health insurance benefits.  We would sit and plan out what we would do first, almost feeling giddy inside.  We would be SET and have hope for the first time in a long time...

BUT, what I thought was another God given opportunity, ended up not working out.  I did NOT get the job.  WHAT?!  I was so confused... 

But I didn't give up! be continued yet again (last time, I promise)

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